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In the Kingdom of Matthias, we uncover the experiences of two men, Elijah Pierson and Robert Matthews, who experienced Matthias first hand and how their lifestyles were displayed. Through these retellings of both men’s lives we can see how the Market Revolution, Democratic Revolution, and the Second Great Awakening all impacted these men’s lives. Elijah’s life was more persuaded by the Market revolution and Second Great Awakening than by the Democratic Revolution. Through Elijah’s retelling we do not see political changes as much as we see Elijah go through a culture shock as well as a social change when he moves to New York. Robert Matthews was more heavily influenced by the Market Revolution as well as the Second Great Awakening, though unlike Elijah there is a significant amount evidence of a Democratic Revolution. Matthews received a huge culture as well as social shock like Elijah, but instead of fear he was more prone towards anger than Elijah. Though Matthews, like Pierson, had no real involvement in any political stance due to an extreme disinterest in politics. Unfortunately, for both men as they grew older, their lives, families, and moral upstanding would be tested and tried again and again until Matthews would grow madder as well as Elijah would grow more corrupted by Matthias, Robert Matthews.
“At the forefront of that perfectionist community writing many of its manifestos and leading many of its crusades, was Elijah Pierson.” (1; pg28)
Elijah Pierson started off as a very simple man in fear of God, and of what was outside his town Morristown. All Elijah Pierson had ever known was a paratracheal system based on the fear of God (believing in God’s involvement in the world ‘s or person’s sins) and inheritance from passing parents. Elijah turned to be a successful businessman and preacher. Around 1800, he moved to New York City to work as a clerk and later a merchant. His life was dull until he met his faithful and devoted wife, Sarah Stanford, after he met Sarah, and after Sarah met Frances Folger, their life to God lead to became extreme with fasting for days as well as praying for days. Soon though, Sarah died from overworking herself and fasting too often, in which grieved Elijah so badly, he eventually turned mad. During her funeral, Elijah tried to raise Sarah from the dead, where his true insanity had set in. He would talk to God, and Jesus would come to talk to him in visions. Before the madness of Pierson had set in, Pierson faced challenges of social and cultural shock as well as political. Pierson was so used to his town that when he saw the prostitution and the slums of New York, he grew to know fear and anger, but eventually helped the needy of the slums soon with the help of his wife. The Market revolution as well as the Second Great Awakening helped Pierson strive well for his family in New York. The politics of his town, Morristown, were very patriarchal, though through the Democratic Revolution, women gained a voice even though they were to still obey the male roles in life. Women could use a “parental authority”, they were still to be “satisfied in being an assistant of man”.
“In 1834 and 1835 Matthias was one of the first penny-press sensations in American history—the main protagonist in a deeply disturbing scandal that received unprecedented national attention.” (Prologue, pg18)
Jesus Matthias, Matthias the Prophet, and Joshua the Jewish Minister were names to a man who was originally known as Robert Matthews, a man who was originally insane and be classified as a manipulative evil. Matthews was a carpenter and religious leader who put together a cult following in New York. Matthews manipulated wealthy businessmen who helped fund his Kingdom. The Kingdom somehow was tied up in adultery, bankruptcy, and murder of Elijah Pierson. Matthews was born in the farming village of Cambridge and was raised an Anti-Burgher Church, where Matthews feared God worse than Elijah’s community of Protestant or Calvinism. Soon after Matthews parents died, he moved to Manhattan where he was angered by the culture and the social normality of the slums, alcoholics, prostitution. After Matthews beat a female unknown due to an outburst of anger towards the slums of Manhattan, He moved back to Cambridge where he grew successful. Matthew’s business went bankrupt and he was forced to move his family back to New York. As we can see the market revolution, failed Matthews time and time again, as well as gave him money. Matthews grew more insane where he had a vision of a flood on Albany and left the city. He returned and succeeded in convincing wealthy merchants named Sylvester Mills, Benjamin Folger, and Elijah Pierson to give him money and two houses, in exchange for “promised abundance in the kingdom of heaven.” Folger went bankrupt and had Matthews arrested for basically stealing Folger’s money for false reasoning’s. Matthews and his slave Isabella (Sojourner Truth), was accused of murdering Pierson, but were let go.
Matthias’s Kingdom faced hardships before it had even started due to the madness that sadly ensued Matthews. The downfall of this cult-like gathering was going to happen since Matthias was unstable. The Market Revolution, the Second Awakening affected the Kingdom unlike the Democratic revolution did to Elijah in sense of the politics surrounding his town-life.
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